Fleetwood Town F.C.

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Fleetwood Town
Fleetwood Town F.C. logo.svg
Full nameFleetwood Town Football Club
Nickname(s)The Fishermen, the Trawlermen
Founded1908; 110 years ago (1908) (as Fleetwood F.C.)
1977; 41 years ago (1977) (first reformation as Fleetwood Town F.C.)
1997; 21 years ago (1997) (second reformation Fleetwood Wanderers F.C.)
GroundHighbury Stadium
Capacity5,327 (2,672 seated[1])
ChairmanAndy Pilley
ManagerJoey Barton
LeagueLeague One
2017–18League One, 14th of 24
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Fleetwood Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Fleetwood, Lancashire, England. Established in 1997, the current Fleetwood Town F.C. is the third incarnation of the club; it was first formed in 1908. The team compete in League One, the third tier of English football. Their home strip is red shirts with white sleeves and white shorts. The home ground is Highbury Stadium in Fleetwood, and the supporters are affectionately known as the Cod Army. The club won the 2011–12 Football Conference, and played in the Football League for the first time in its history in the 2012–13 season. In May 2014, at Wembley, Fleetwood won the promotion play-off to League One, the club's sixth promotion in 10 years.


The current club was officially established in 1997 but, in two previous incarnations, the club's history dates back to 1908. The original club, Fleetwood F.C., were champions of the Lancashire Combination in 1923–24, and registered a hat-trick of Lancashire Combination Cup wins in 1932, 1933 and 1934. The side's goalkeeper in the first of those victories was Frank Swift, then only eighteen years old. After almost sixty years as a Lancashire Combination club, they were made founder members of the Northern Premier League in 1968. The club finished in 10th place in its first season.[2] As the NPL was one of several leagues immediately below Division Four of the Football League, this was effectively the fifth tier of English football, and the club would not surpass this success until 2010–11. Despite winning the Northern Premier League Cup in 1971, the club languished in the lower half of the table, finishing bottom for two successive seasons (1974–75 and 1975–76) and folded in 1976 because of financial difficulties. Its great players include the late Percy Ronson, after whom one stand is named.

The club was re-established in 1977 as Fleetwood Town F.C., with many of the original personnel. Initially placed in Division One of the Cheshire League, it was moved in 1982 to the North West Counties League Division Two in its inaugural year, and promoted to Division One in 1984. The team reached the final of the FA Vase in 1985, losing 3–1 to Halesowen Town in front of a 16,000 crowd at Wembley. The club was placed in Division One (second tier) of the Northern Premier League when the league established a second tier in 1987, becoming the inaugural Division One Champions in 1988. In 1990–91 the club finished fourth in the NPL Premier Division, at the time effectively the sixth tier.[2] However, by 1996, this second club had also folded.

Re-formed in 1997 as Fleetwood Wanderers, the club was placed back in Division One of the North West Counties Football League (now the tenth tier of the English League system) and a sponsorship deal saw the club's name immediately changed to Fleetwood Freeport F.C.. The club was promoted to the Premier Division of the North West Counties League in 1999 and renamed Fleetwood Town F.C. in 2002. Tony Greenwood was appointed manager in 2003; soon afterward, Andy Pilley took over as chairman. Successive promotions, as North West Counties League champions in 2005 and Northern Premier League First Division runners-up in 2006, saw the club reach the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

Fleetwood Town won the Northern Premier League Challenge Cup in the 2006–07 season, beating Matlock Town 1–0, and finished the season in eighth place with 67 points.

In the 2007–08 season Fleetwood won the Northern Premier League, gaining promotion to the Conference North. Along the way they set a new attendance record for the division,[3] and were easily the best-supported team in the Premier Division.[4]

Fleetwood started the 2008–09 Conference North season poorly; with the club at the bottom of the league, manager Tony Greenwood, along with his assistant, Nigel Greenwood and coach Andy Whittaker, were sacked.[5] Greenwood was replaced by Micky Mellon, who also remained as Under-15 and Under-16 coach at Burnley.[6] His position at Fleetwood was made full-time in January 2009, a first for the club.[7] Fleetwood reached the Second Round Proper of the F.A. Cup for the first time, but were beaten 3–2 by Hartlepool United at Highbury, in front of a then record crowd of 3,280.

The demise of Farsley Celtic partway through the 2009–10 was detrimental to Fleetwood's campaign, as Farsley's entire 2009–10 playing record was expunged. Fleetwood were chasing promotion along with near neighbours Southport, and the ruling cost Fleetwood three points relative to Southport. Fleetwood appealed against the decision but the appeal was rejected the day before the last match of the season, leaving Southport one point ahead. Both teams won on the final day, giving Southport the championship. Fleetwood instead had to contest the play-offs, and after beating Droylsden on penalties in the semi-final Fleetwood won promotion to the Football Conference by beating Alfreton Town 2–1 in the final.

For the 2010–11 season the club made all of its players full-time professionals, though this resulted in a few players leaving the club, including club captain Jamie Milligan. The club spent most of the season in or near the play-off positions, eventually qualifying by finishing in fifth place. In the play-off semi-finals, against Wimbledon, a new attendance record of 4,112 was set in the home leg, but Fleetwood lost both games with an 8–1 aggregate scoreline.

Football League[edit]

Antoni Sarcevic's free-kick in the 2014 play-off final won Fleetwood's first promotion to League One in their history.

Fleetwood's 2011–12 season was very successful. In the FA Cup they reached the Third Round for the first time. After beating Mansfield Town, Wycombe Wanderers, and Yeovil Town, they were drawn at home to local rivals Blackpool, but lost 5–1 to the Championship club, with Jamie Vardy scoring Fleetwood's only goal. In the league Fleetwood went on a 29-game unbeaten run,[8] and were declared champions with two games remaining, giving them promotion to the Football League for the first time.[9] At the end of the season Vardy moved to Leicester City for a fee of £1m, which subsequently rose to £1.7m—a record transfer fee for a non-league club.[10]

Fleetwood had a good start to the 2012–13 season, and had risen to third in the league after 10 games. However, they only won two of the next 10 games, slipping to sixth position; chairman Andy Pilley and manager Micky Mellon fell out, after Mellon allegedly applied for the Burnley and Blackpool managerial vacancies. On 1 December 2012, following a 3–2 defeat against Aldershot in the FA Cup, Mellon was sacked[11] as manager of the League Two side. Graham Alexander was appointed manager on 6 December 2012. Fleetwood were unbeaten for the next five games, and after a steady run of results had risen back to fourth place after 11 games. However, Fleetwood only won two of the remaining 15 games, and consequently slipped down the table to finish 13th in League Two; this resulted in a large rebuilding of the squad.

The 2013–14 season was another successful one. Having been in and around the automatic promotion places all season and getting to the League Trophy area final, the club narrowly missed out on automatic promotion, finishing in fourth place. After beating York City in the play-off semi-final, Fleetwood beat Burton Albion 1–0 from an Antoni Sarcevic free-kick in the play-off final at Wembley on 26 May to win promotion to League One for the first time.[12]

Playing at the club's highest level, the 2014–15 season was very successful. After three games the team was top of the league for two games, and apart from a couple of games remained in the top half of the league all season, eventually finishing in a very creditable 10th place. Notable results were a great 2–1 win away to Sheffield United and good home draws against Bristol City, Preston North End, Swindon Town, Sheffield United, Rochdale and Chesterfield. Also in 2014, the club purchased a 57-bedroom hotel in Blackpool for the youth team; the following year, the club started to move into its new training ground in Thornton.

2015–16 was a difficult season. In July 2015, chairman Andy Pilley announced that the club's strategic direction would move more towards a self-sustaining model utilizing the development and sell-on of home-grown talent, rather than buying in players to attempt to climb the league pyramid further.[13] The playing budget was trimmed heavily. After a poor start to the season with only two wins in 10 league matches, Graham Alexander was sacked on 30 September 2015, with the club one point above the relegation zone after being beaten 5–1 by Gillingham. On 6 October 2015 Steven Pressley was appointed manager. After a season flirting with the relegation zone, Pressley successfully guided the club to safety, five points above the relegation zone, with 10 wins in 35 league matches and an appearance in the league trophy northern area final. On 20 April 2016, Sir Alex Ferguson officially opened the club's £8m Poolfoot farm training ground complex with 18 pitches including a floodlit 4G artificial pitch, gym, cafe, bar, offices, etc.

Just before the start of the 2016–17 season, on 26 July 2016, Steven Pressley resigned from his position as manager.[14]. Uwe Rösler was appointed manager on 30 July 2016 who successfully guided the club to its highest ever finish in 4th place but was narrowly beaten 1–0 by Bradford City in the play off semi-final.

However in the 2017–18 season Uwe Rosler was sacked on 17 February 2018 after seven straight defeats in all competitions with the club just outside the relegation zone by goal difference. On 22 February 2018 John Sheridan was appointed manager on a short term contract until the end of the season who successfully guided the club away from relegation and finished mid table in 14th place.

At the beginning of 2018–19 season Joey Barton was appointed manager on 2 June 2018.

Highbury Stadium[edit]

Percy Ronson stand at Highbury Stadium

The original 1908 club played on a pitch next to the North Euston Hotel, where the police station now stands. Apart from two years after World War I when the club played on a ground across from the Queen's Hotel on Poulton Road (Queen's Ground), they remained at the Euston ground until moving to the present ground next to the Memorial Park in 1939.

In February 2007 the new Percy Ronson Stand was opened. A £500,000–plus development the stand is all terracing. Originally stated to have a capacity of 1,240, this has since been revised downwards by Lancashire County Council to 621.[1] In July 2007, further plans for the stadium development were announced which included three new stands. The plans were finalised in December 2007 and in March 2008, planning permission was given for the first phase, construction of the north and west stands. Construction began in May 2008, and the two stands were opened for Fleetwood's first home game of the 2008–09 season, on 22 August 2008. The west stand, known as the Highbury Stand, has 550 seats together with disabled and press facilities and the north stand, known as the Memorial Stand, is a terraced stand with an official capacity of 1,473.[1] A new Football League standard floodlight system and perimeter fencing were also installed.

Exterior of the main stand of Highbury Stadium

The second phase development, the construction of a new East Stand, to bring the ground capacity over the 4,000 minimum required for Conference National football, was originally scheduled for the 2009 close season, but was postponed, and a £125,000 project to re-lay the pitch and improve drainage was instead implemented.[15] Plans for the stand were revised and resubmitted in December 2009, and approved in March 2010. Its capacity increased to 2,000 and increased the ground capacity to over 5,500, meeting the requirements of Football League membership. The stand had a proposed cost of £4 million.[16] Construction began in May 2010, ahead of Fleetwood's successful Conference North play-off final against Alfreton Town. The stand, now named the Parkside Stand, was completed in spring 2011, and fully opened on 16 April for Fleetwood's game against Altrincham, which they won 3–1.

The stadium's current capacity is 5,327; it is the 112th largest stadium by capacity in England and the second smallest in their division.[1] behind Wimbledon's ground, Kingsmeadow.


Although they have only met six times in a competitive fixture as of the start of the 2018–19 season, Fleetwood have built up something of a rivalry with Fylde Coast neighbours Blackpool who, followed by Morecambe and Preston North End, are the nearest Football League clubs to Fleetwood. Fleetwood also have more traditional local rivalries against Morecambe, Southport and Barrow, all of whom have competed against Fleetwood fairly regularly when all four were non-league clubs. Other rivalries with nearby clubs have included those with Accrington Stanley, Chorley and Lancaster City.


As of 21 September 2018[17]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Alex Cairns
2 England DF Lewie Coyle (on loan from Leeds United)
3 England DF Eddie Clarke
4 Scotland MF Jason Holt (on loan from Rangers)
5 England DF Ashley Eastham
6 England DF Tommy Spurr (on loan from Preston North End)
7 Wales FW Wes Burns
8 England MF Kyle Dempsey
9 Wales FW Ched Evans (on loan from Sheffield United)
10 England FW Conor McAleny
11 England FW Bobby Grant
12 Republic of Ireland DF Cian Bolger
13 England DF Joe Maguire (on loan at Crawley Town)
14 England FW Chris Long
16 England GK Paul Jones
17 Republic of Ireland FW Paddy Madden
No. Position Player
18 England DF Ryan Taylor
19 Wales DF Gethin Jones
20 Wales DF Craig Morgan
22 England FW Ashley Hunter
23 Scotland MF Ross Wallace
25 England MF Dean Marney
26 England DF James Husband (on loan from Norwich City)
27 England MF Harrison Biggins
28 England MF Jack Sowerby
29 England DF Nathan Sheron
31 England GK Billy Crellin
32 England DF Lewis Baines
33 England FW James Hill
34 England FW Gerard Garner
35 England DF Ryan Rydel
38 England MF James Wallace
41 England GK Matt Urwin


As of 1 June 2018[citation needed]
Position Name
Manager Joey Barton
Assistant Manager Clint Hill
Goalkeeper Coach David Lucas
Head Physiotherapist Luke Bussey
Fitness Coach Youl Mawéné
Technical Director Grétar Steinsson
Academy Director Ciaran Donnelly
U21 Squad Coach Paul Murray
Chief Scout Steve Davis
Kit Manager Daniel Moore


Fleetwood Town's main kit sponsors include Commercial Power Ltd[18] and Business Energy Solutions.



League football[edit]

Football League Two

Non-League football[edit]

Conference National

Conference North

  • Runners-up (and play-off winners) – 2009–10

Northern Premier League Premier Division

Northern Premier League First Division

  • Champions – 1987–88
  • Runners-up (promoted) – 2005–06

North West Counties Football League Premier Division

North West Counties Football League First Division

  • Champions – 1983–84, 1998–99

Lancashire Combination

  • Champions – 1923–24
  • Runners-up – 1933–34, 1934–35

Lancashire League West Division Reserve League

  • Winners – 2008–09


Non-League football[edit]

Northern Premier League Challenge Cup

  • Winners – 1971, 2007
  • Runners-up – 1989

Northern Premier League President's Cup

  • Winners – 1990
  • Runners-up – 1991

North West Counties Football League First Division Trophy

  • Winners – 1999

FA Vase

  • Runners-up – 1984–85

Lancashire Combination Cup

  • Winners – 1926, 1932, 1933, 1934
  • Runners-up – 1953, 1967

Peter Swales Memorial Shield

  • Winners – 2008


Most appearances[edit]

Record goalscorer[edit]

  • 101 – Dave Barnes

Most capped player[edit]



The 2017–18 average in terms of percentage of ground capacity (which is currently given as 5,327) is 59%. It is a 4% decrease over the previous season's average attendance.

Source: English football site


  1. ^ a b c d "Highbury Stadium Capacity". Fleetwood Town F.C. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b "England – Northern Premier League". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 2 April 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2008.
  3. ^ "Unibond League Premier Division Maximum Attendances – Home Matches". footballwebpages.co.uk. 26 April 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2008.
  4. ^ "Unibond League Premier Division Average Attendances – Home Matches". footballwebpages.co.uk. 26 April 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2008.
  5. ^ Young, Mike (17 September 2008). "Fleetwood sack boss Greenwood". Blackpool Gazette. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
  6. ^ Moore, Andy (24 September 2008). "Mellon can't wait for Fleetwood challenge". Blackpool Gazette. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  7. ^ "Micky Mellon goes full-time". Fleetwood Weekly News. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2009.
  8. ^ "Cambridge 2–0 Fleetwood". BBC. 21 April 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  9. ^ "Fleetwood Town reach Football League for first time". BBC. 14 April 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  10. ^ de Menezes, Jack (12 November 2015). "Jamie Vardy was going to be scouted by Real Madrid and Barcelona during Spain vs England friendly before injury". The Independent. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Trawler men Sack Manager".
  12. ^ "Sky Bet League Two play-off final: Fleetwood beat Burton 1–0 to earn promotion". Sky Sports News. 26 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  13. ^ "Fleetwood's break-even hope". Fleetwood Weekly News. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Steve Pressley: Fleetwood Town manager resigns from League One club". BBC News. 26 July 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Dig It Up!". Fleetwood Town F.C. 21 April 2009. Archived from the original on 14 June 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  16. ^ "New Stand Plans Submitted". Fleetwood Town F.C. 7 December 2009. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
  17. ^ "Fleetwood Town First Team Squad". Fleetwood Town FC. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  18. ^ "Andy a supporter all year round".
  19. ^ "Captain will beat Jack Ainscough's record of 421 appearances". Fleetwood Town F.C. 2 May 2016. Retrieved 15 May 2016.

External links[edit]